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Author Notes: According to Flo Braker, Bostock is a simple French delicacy—though you'd never know by the name, which is much clunkier than pain au chocolat or mille-feuille. It may sound more élégant to talk about other French pastries, but you probably don't really want to go through the trouble and the butter of making them. Not so with Bostock. This is the French pastry—slightly wonky, way more laid-back, and with a random "k" tacked onto its name—that you've been waiting for.
Adapted from Chard Robertson in Tartine Bread (Chronicle 2010) —Sarah Jampel
Serves 6 to 8
For the almond cream:
- 1 3/4 cups sliced almonds, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons pure almond extract
For the simple syrup, roasted grapes, and Bostock:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 6 to 8 slices best-quality brioche or challah, 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick
- 1 pound Concord grapes, rinsed, patted dry, and split in half with seeds removed
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Concord grape jam (I used Santa Cruz Organic brand)
- To make the almond cream, combine 1 cup of the sliced almonds, the sugar, and the salt in a food processor. Process until finely ground.
- Add eggs and butter and process to form a paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the brandy and the almond extract.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- Meanwhile, make the lemon simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar has dissolved, after about 5 minutes, remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toast the brioche slices (you probably won't be able to fit them in a standard toaster, but you can toast them in the oven as it preheats!).
- In a large bowl, toss the grapes with the lemon zest and butter. Spread onto a baking sheet.
- Arrange the brioche toasts on a separate baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a pastry brush to thoroughly soak the toasts with the syrup until they are very moist.
- Spread with a generous layer of grape jam (Robertson suggests about 1/8-inch thick) and follow with a layer of almond cream about twice that thickness. Top the toasts with the remaining 3/4 cup sliced almonds.
- Put the toasts and the grapes in the oven. Bake until deep golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Monitor them closely in the last couple of minutes to ensure they do not burn. Bake the grapes for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the skins slacken and they release juice.
- Take the Bostock and grapes out of the oven and allow to cool slightly. Gather the grapes and all their juices into a bowl, then put the toasts on plates and spoon the fruit over top.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!
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